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Bisexual writer prompts fierce debate after saying closeted authors like Love, Simon’s Becky Albertalli shouldn’t write LGBT+ stories

Patrick Kelleher September 11, 2020
Gaby Dunn and Becky Albertalli

Gaby Dunn (L) spoke out after Becky Albertalil (R) came out as bisexual. (Getty)

Writer Gaby Dunn prompted fierce debate after criticising Love, Simon creator Becky Albertalli for writing queer stories while closeted, then complaining about scrutiny of her sexuality.

Dunn, who is a novelist, journalist and podcaster, suggested that queer writers who are still in the closet should not write LGBT-themed stories after Becky Albertalli said she was forced to come out as bisexual.

In an essay, published on Medium in August, Albertalli – who wrote the book Simon vs the Homo Sapiens, which went on to inspire the feature film Love, Simon – opened up about her sexuality for the first time, and said she had felt forced to come out after being accused of “profiting off of communities [she] had no connection to”.

“This doesn’t feel good or empowering, or even particularly safe,” Albertalli wrote. “Honestly, I’m doing this because I’ve been scrutinised, subtweeted, mocked, lectured, and invalidated just about every single day for years, and I’m exhausted.”

The author was met with a wave of love and support from many within the LGBT+ community when she came out – but Dunn, who is bisexual, was not impressed.

“I sort of think you shouldn’t write/create queer media and then feel weird when people ask if you’re queer?” Dunn tweeted on Thursday (September 10).

She continued: “Or maybe if you’re grappling with it you should refrain from writing about the community you’re not part of until you are comfortable being part of it? It’s great to want to write queer stories! Do it from within once you’re comfy and not as something you’re entitled to.

“The queer community is amazing! I welcome you!! Come enjoy it before you write about it because we can tell!

“I just don’t think you’re the victim when you put yourself into queer spaces, centre yourself as a creator in that space and then get weepy about having to explain that.”

Dunn added: “No one is obligated to come out but no one is forcing you to write queer stories while closeted? If your own queerness makes you uncomfortable, how can you and more importantly why would you want to spotlight that on yourself and centre your work in queer spaces?”

At the end of her Twitter thread, Dunn clarified that she was talking about Albertalli’s coming out, as well as others who had made money from creating queer art.

Matilda star Mara Wilson one of many to counter Gaby Dunn’s view.

Gaby Dunn has faced a barrage of criticism and backlash from writers, artists and creators for her comments.

Bisexual writer Mara Wilson, who first rose to fame as a child star in films such as Matilda, replied: “I get where you’re coming from, but I also know that I wrote stories about queer characters falling in love before I came out, and I see now it was really a way of working through it for me.

“I also had VERY negative experiences with people pushing me to come out.”

Queer author Naoise Dolan added: “Expecting queer authors to be community ambassadors when straight authors get to just be authors is homophobic regardless of who’s saying it.

“The idea that someone can’t have immersed themselves in any queer community unless they’re out to you specifically is severe main-character syndrome. Go outside.”

Countless others tweeted their opposition to Dunn’s views, with many pointing out that plenty of people don’t have the opportunity to be open in their queerness.

Since posting her original tweets, Dunn has doubled down on her views. She later insisted that LGBT+ people shouldn’t be “forced to come out”, but that closeted authors should expect “criticism and questions and skepticism” from the queer community.

Dunn also defended herself from accusations that her original tweet was “spiteful”, saying she is entitled to her “opinion” and she does not have to change her views.

More: Gaby Dunn, mara wilson, Naoise Dolan

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